Here's a couple of group shot at the end of the day, it was cool seeing old faces. I can't believe how big the festival was this year plenty of demo bikes on hand to try. And once a few of our members cleaned up on the raffles, while the rest of us were cleaned out.
Here's an article about teh festival and an interview with Greg.
Mountain bikers revel in Westchester's hilly terrain at festival
BY CHRISTINE PIZZUTI • CPIZZUTI@LOHUD.COM • JUNE 15, 2009
PEEKSKILL – Those who have experienced mountain biking only through a TV screen may not know there's a lot more to the sport than stunts and competition. Hundreds gathered at Blue Mountain Reservation yesterday for the 14th annual Fat Tire Festival to check out each others' bikes, exchange information on the best trails around and take a relaxed ride over the reserve's wooded terrain. "This is basically a day for mountain biking. It's a family event day – not about competition," said Matt Sherman, an executive committee member of the Westchester Mountain Biking Association, which held the event in conjunction with Westchester County Parks and Recreation. "Usually you see competitions on TV, but this day is really to just relax and enjoy the sport." Attendance continues to grow, Sherman said, and he was expecting from 500 to 700 bikers to come yesterday.
Hoboken resident Vito Zarrillo rode across the main field next to his 4-year-old son, also named Vito, who tagged along on a sturdy bike with training wheels. "We've never been here before, but I'm trying to get him started early," Zarrillo said. His son wanted to participate in a ride, though he may have been too young this year, he said. "He has the desire to do it," Zarrillo said.
Brooklyn resident Greg Chin said he started mountain biking when a friend was getting rid of some old magazines, and handed him one about mountain biking. "I always loved bikes since I was a kid," said Chin, adding that part of his attraction was the natural aspect. The Jamaica native said he grew up with more trees around him, and in terms of nature, "You have to love it to do it." Chin came with some friends, including Brooklyn resident Ignacio Soltero, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, and documents events on a Web site called BrooklynBikeRiders.com. "It's more than a Web site, it's a way of life," the site reads.
Mike Vitti, the New York state representative for the International Mountain Bicycling Association, said part of what the association does is to encourage the public to build sustainable trails. Though the situation is improving, mountain biking is looked by some as a sport that degrades walking trails and similar environments, but Vitti said that if anything, mountain bikers have more appreciation for the woods through which they ride. "A lot of people are afraid of something new, and a lot of people are startled by a bike coming through (while they're walking on a path)," he said. Vitti is also president of CLIMB, or Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists. The reward in mountain biking is overcoming challenges, he said, but there aren't as many on Long Island as far as slopes and boulders go. Those bikers tend to come up to Westchester, which, Vitti said, is good for the economy and tourism in general. "We need different events to encourage people to go out there and exercise," he said, adding that he spends a lot of time getting kids from the city to participate. "When you get kids exposed to nature at an early age, they grow up and strive to protect it."
From left, Pavlo Drabott from Staten Island and Chris Britto from Brooklyn pop wheelies during the Fat Tire Festival at Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill June 14, 2009. ( Ricky Flores / The Journal News)